Continuing from our previous insight, the third party that filed a lawsuit was the community that calls itself “Paguyuban Tanah Galian.” As stated by the chairman of the community, Edy Padeng, the issue in Galian has been going on for a long time. "Since the early 2000s, Servas Sadipun, our lawyer, has helped us. The trial is still ongoing", he said.

According to Sadipun, at first, he only came to the court with the titles of ownership held by the residents. However, as the trial goes, he began to look for more convincing documents. In 2016, Sadipun finally found Eigendom Verponding number 6239. The owner is Nur Helis Binti Undang, who inherited it from her husband, the original owner, Bob Goldman.

After obtaining the power of attorney from the document owner, Servas used the document in the Tanah Galian case. Since two years ago, some of the residents have obtained the Letter of Release of Land Title from the owner. "That’s why the ones fighting now are the owner of the land title with the Paguyuban," Servas admitted that he got more spirit since he got the Eigendom Verponding document. The letter from the Head of the East Jakarta Office of the National Land Agency to the Commander of the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base on 12 September 2003 clearly stated that the land taken over by the Air Force at Cipinang Melayu was covered by the Eigendom Verponding 6329.

"The document was often used by several parties to claim that the land is a state land. The fact is, they don't have the
document. We have the document and its owners,” said Servas while showing the document. In fact, he believes the legality of the document has been tested. Eigendom Verponding 6329 was legally registered at the Center for Heritage (BHP) and the Directorate of Agrarian Affairs on 8 January 1980. In addition, BHP also gave the ownership of inheritance rights in 2014. Not only that, a letter from the National Archive of Indonesia made in 2016 confirmed that the proof of ownership of the land at Tanah Galian is E.V. 6329. Finally, a letter from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights dated 12
December 2017 stated that the right owner of the Eigendom Verponding 6329 is Bob Goldman.

Despite all this proof, the trial is still ongoing. On 27 November, the plaintiff delivered its rebuttal in Jakarta. Of course, the defendant has their own argument. The lawyer of the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base, Azhari, together with Dedi Setiawan and Maryono, stated during the hearing on 20 November 2019 that they believed that the land that was being disputed was state land, registered as state inventory under registration number 50502001. As he had done for the lawsuit filed by Jaberlin, to counter the Eigendom Verponding 6329, Azhari referred to the Decree of Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces (KSAP) number 023/P/KSP/1950 dated 25 May 1950, which stated that the airfield, buildings that the become the part of it, and the equipment necessary for the maintenance of the airfield belongs to the Air Force.

Furthermore, the Air Force referred to the history of the land since it was taken over by the Japanese. According to the Circular Letter number Agr.40/25/13 1953, it was stated that the demand for compensations for the land taken over by the Japanese made by its former owner after 1953 would not be considered. The letter is further supported by the letter from Directorate General of Agrarian Affairs on behalf of the Minister of Home Affairs number 593/III/Agr. dated 7 January 1983 regarding the settlement of the public land taken by the Japanese, that since the end of 1953, demand for compensations for the land will not be considered.

Of course, the legal debate will go for a long time. For example, is the location being contested is really necessary for the airfield? If so, why leave it abandoned, or why the Air Force give it up for other projects, including toll roads and the rail line project? We cannot predict the final verdict will be. However, what is worrying is the fact that the land acquisition process has been started, while the case is still being processed at the court.

That is the reason that encourages a non-governmental organisation, Aliansi Indonesia, to provide attention and sympathy for the residents. "The project implementers should have held back while waiting for the court process to finish. Therefore, we’ll stay behind the residents to monitor this case. They are dealing with those who have power and money", said H. Djoni Lubis, Chairperson of Aliansi Indonesia, when meeting with residents of Tanah Galian on Thursday (21/11).

The writer had asked for an explanation from the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning/National Land Agency. The Director-General of Land Procurement of the ministry, Arie Yuriwin, who was out of town, suggested the writer meet and asked for an explanation the Head of the East Jakarta Office of the National Land Agency (BPN). "I am out of town, please try to contact the Head of East Jakarta Office", he said.

Head of the East Jakarta Office of BPN, Samsul Bahri entrusted his staff Margo Sumarno to gave an explanation regarding this problem. “In principle, we are waiting for the court ruling. Especially now that there are several lawsuits filed to the court. Now we have to be patient with the demands of the residents,” he said.

However, the official statement is far different from what happened in the field. Because according to the writer’s observation, as of 24 November, heavy equipment slowly began to enter the location being disputed. Furthermore, according to many reports in the media, the project implementers continued to boast that the land acquisition process had been completed.

For example, Arie Yuriwin's statement, when handing over land acquisition documents to PT PSBI confirmed his optimism that the land acquisition process would be completed before the end of the year since the progress had reached 98.95% (Bisnis, 17/9). In fact, on the same occasion, President Director of PT PSBI, Natal Pardede claimed that the land acquisition process was going smoothly, and it will cost Rp 700 billion.

Wijaya Karya, who was asked to give a comment regarding this matter, directed the writer to ask PT PSBI as the project implementer. "We are only one of the coordinators, but the matter of land acquisition should be asked to the implementer, in this case PSBI", said Mahendara, Corporate Secretary of Wijaya Karya Tbk.

Whatever the problem is, given the strategic nature of this project, it is hoped that the project will run smoothly and will be finished on time in 2021. However, this prestigious project should not be built on the blood and tears of the residents of Tanah Galian. Perhaps, it is better of the government and the project implementer to consider the legality of Eigendom Verponding 6329. (ARM/AR)